First Time Abroad? 4 Tips to Help You Plan an Unforgettable Trip
Travelling abroad is an adventure, and while it may come with challenges, it also offers incredible opportunities for personal growth and unforgettable experiences.
International travel allows you the opportunity to immerse yourself in different cultures, traditions, and ways of life. You’ll have the opportunity to interact with locals, try new exotic foods, participate in cultural events, and gain a deeper understanding of the world’s diversity.
While there are countless benefits of travelling outside your native country, it can be intimidating or stressful for those who have never done so before. Travelling pushes you out of your comfort zone and challenges you to adapt to unfamiliar situations. However, if you can persevere, you will build your self-confidence and resilience as you navigate through new environments and overcome obstacles.
If you’re ready to lose your international travel virginity, be sure to check out our top four handy tips for travelling abroad your first time.
Research Your Destination
One of the first things you need to do when going abroad for the first time is thoroughly research potential destinations. You will be surprised at the number of people that book their first holiday and just show up to the airport without any idea where they’re going aside from the name of the location and hotel.
As a novice international traveller, you want to make sure you are choosing a safe country with uncomplicated travel logistics. Doing a more comprehensive research of the country will give you more insight into the culture, and will also provide you with the information you need to get around confidently and comfortably.
Research can include reading online travel guides and blogs that feature your chosen destination. These resources often provide valuable insights into the top attractions, local culture, best places to eat, transportation options, including car rental in Iceland, and travel tips from experienced travellers.
You can also browse the official tourism websites of the country or city you plan to visit. These websites offer up-to-date information on attractions, events, festivals, and practical travel tips. Join travel forums or online communities related to your destination to uncover real-life experiences and possibly answers to specific questions you may have.
Familiarise yourself with the local customs, traditions, and etiquette. Understanding and respecting the culture will help you blend in better and avoid unintentional faux pas.
Lastly, be sure to check your government’s travel advisory website for any safety and security concerns related to your destination. It’s essential to be aware of any potential risks before you travel such as political unrest or natural disasters that have recently occurred or are possibly forecasted.
Get Everything Sorted
Taking a trip abroad often means there is much more planning required than travelling within your home country. International travel is much more involved and there is a lot of stuff to get sorted. There are flights and hotels to book of course, but also transportation to sort out and documents like your passport and visas to get.
Research different accommodation options based on your budget and preferences. Read reviews from previous guests to get an idea of the quality and service provided and to make sure you are booking accommodation in a safe part of town that offers a great base for exploring the city or region you are travelling to.
Look into transportation options within your destination, such as public transportation, taxis, or car rentals. Familiarise yourself with the local transportation system and plan your routes accordingly. You’ll also want to visit your government’s health website or consult a travel health clinic to check if there are any recommended vaccinations or health precautions for your destination.
Before you jet away, it’s also vital to purchase travel insurance. A comprehensive travel insurance policy can help provide coverage for unlimited medical treatment you may require overseas, trip cancellations or delays, lost luggage, and other unforeseen events.
It’s essential to have coverage for any unexpected situations that may arise during your trip because without insurance, many expenses to get you back on track can be very costly. Many travel insurers even consider pre-existing medical conditions but you will need to declare your current medical issues and may require a specialist travel insurance like the one offered by Staysure.
Prepare a detailed travel itinerary that includes flight details, accommodation reservations, and any booked activities. Organise all necessary travel documents, such as printed flight tickets, hotel reservations, and travel insurance information.
Ensure you have a valid passport that is not close to expiring. Some countries require your passport to be valid for at least six months beyond your travel dates. Check the visa requirements for your destination country and obtain the necessary visas well in advance as some visas may take considerable time to process.
Learn Some Basic Phrases
It will be in your best interest to learn some basic travel terms and phrases before you go abroad. This is of course more of a concern when visiting countries that speak a different language than your native language, but even travelling between the UK and the US or Australia can present a great deal of words or phrases that you are unfamiliar with despite English still being spoken.
While English is widely spoken in many tourist destinations around the world, learning a few basic phrases in the local language can go a long way in showing respect and building connections with the locals. Learning the local language when travelling is a valuable investment that goes beyond simple communication as it will no doubt enrich your travel experience, promotes cultural understanding, and leaves a positive impression on the people you meet.
Knowing the local language allows you to communicate more effectively with locals. This skill enables you to ask for directions, order food, negotiate prices, and engage in meaningful conversations. It will help you minimise misunderstandings and helps you navigate daily interactions smoothly which as a first-time international traveller will make things less stressful.
Knowing the local language can be crucial for your safety and security as well. It will allow you to communicate more effectively in emergency situations, seek help when needed, and understand safety instructions.
What you pack and how much you pack will depend upon where you are travelling and the duration of your travels. The bulk of your luggage will likely contain clothing. It’s important to try to condense your wardrobe and only pack clothing that is suitable and useful for the place you are travelling to.
Before you start packing, check the weather forecast for your destination during your travel dates. This will help you pack appropriate clothing for the climate and forecasted conditions. Packing layers is essential, especially for destinations with varying temperatures throughout the day. Layers allow you to adjust to different weather conditions quickly and comfortably.
Choose clothing items that can be mixed and matched to create multiple outfits to save space. Neutral colours are often more versatile and can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. If you’re travelling to a destination with a different cultural dress code, be respectful and pack appropriate clothing that adheres to local customs and traditions so as to not offend.
Select clothing that is wrinkle-resistant and quick-drying. These materials are more travel-friendly and will save you time ironing or waiting for clothes to dry. Rolling your clothes can save space and reduce wrinkles. It also makes it easier to find specific items in your luggage.
Meanwhile, compression bags can help compress your clothing and maximise space in your luggage, while packing cubes help keep your clothes organised and make it easier to find what you need without having to unpack your entire suitcase.
Since you are going abroad, you may need to pack a universal power adapter to charge your electronic devices like your phone, camera, and laptop. Check the electrical plug type used in your chosen destination and pack a few of the appropriate adapters in order to charge multiple devices simultaneously.
You may also want to pack a portable charger or power bank to keep your electronic devices charged while on the go, especially during long flights or train journeys.
Pack travel-sized toiletries, including shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toothpaste, and any necessary medications. Make sure your medications are properly labelled with your name and prescription details.
Invest in lightweight and durable luggage that meets airline size and weight restrictions. Consider a carry-on bag for short trips to avoid checked baggage fees and reduce the risk of lost luggage. Be mindful to leave room in your luggage for souvenirs you may purchase during your travels.
We hope these tips will help make your first international travel experience both stress-free and memorable. Travelling abroad again gives you the opportunity to discover more about yourself, your interests, and your passions.
International travel opens doors to new friendships, experiences, and perspectives, enriching your life in countless ways. The rewards of international travel extend far beyond the time spent abroad, leaving a lasting impact on your outlook and understanding of the world.